U of A Designated as a Minority Serving Institution by Department of Education

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The U.S. Department of Education recently designated the University of Arkansas as a Minority Serving Institution, specifically for American Indian or Alaska Native students. The designation recognizes that the U of A enrolls more than 300 American Indian and Alaska Native students, primarily members of the first group. The designation makes the U of A eligible for additional research grants and other types of federal education funding.

The specific designation was created by an executive order from President Barack Obama in late 2011, which led the U.S. Department of Education to establish the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. The purpose of the initiative is to increase educational opportunities for students in both groups and to recognize and reward institutions that provide these opportunities.

“This designation by the Department of Education is a significant event for the University of Arkansas,” said Ro Di Brezzo, interim vice provost for diversity. “Achieving a diverse student body is an important priority for this campus and while there is much more to be done, this recognition is welcome. Several of our faculty and administrators have been working hard to raise the U of A’s profile among Native American students and we are grateful for their efforts.”

Schools designated as Minority Serving Institutions are also eligible to apply for and receive a variety of federal grants for research and other purposes.

“This is good news for our faculty and the various research centers at the U of A,” said Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development. “This will open up opportunities that can benefit Native American students and, in fact, all students on this campus.”

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